Walleye Fishing Forecast and Tagging Study, 2009 Updates
I know it's cold and windy, but you walleye anglers know that this is your time of year! Walleye action is on the increase!
And to get you started off fine in 2009, the Walleye Fishing Forecast and the Walleye Tagging Study update are both available. The fishing forecast is a must for any angler thinking about accepting the challenge of walleye fishing in 2009. DGIF has come a long way in developing very good walleye populations in a number of lakes through a stocking program; has learned a lot about walleye habitat, life history, and angling techniques in Virginia; and has lead the way in discovering and enhancing a unique strain of walleye found only in the New River. The forecast is the biologist's best predictions about where, when, and how. DGIF is also continuing a walleye reward tag study in 2009 and the update will give you details about how you can participate. Good luck and enjoy!
General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You
There is a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner or concerned citizen.
The most appropriate way to express your opinion about these bills, or any other legislation, is through your local delegate and/or senator. For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, please visit the Virginia General Assembly website. You may also contact the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 (804-698-1990 in Richmond).
New Features Added For the New Year
We greatly appreciate the comments from our subscribers for improving the Outdoor Report and its value to you. Several features have been added based on your requests for the 2009 editions. Here's an overview of the changes- let us know what you think!
Be Wild, Virginia Now Featured in Virginia Wildlife Magazine
Features on Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) species in peril by artist and author Spike Knuth are now found in the Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! section of each edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine. The artwork and species as well as the variety of articles in the upcoming edition of Virginia Wildlife will be listed in the Sidebar section of the Outdoor Report. If you are not already a subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, we encourage you to subscribe to enjoy Spike's features and all the other interesting articles in our awarding winning feature magazine.
If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, visit the Department's website, or call 1-800-710-9369. A one-year subscription for 12 issues is only $12.95.
"BOATERS - ARE YOU ON BOARD?" Section Added to Sidebar
VDGIF Boating Safety Education Coordinators, Stacey Brown and Tom Guess will be providing information on safe and sober boating, boat maintenance and operation tips and updates on the new requirements for boating safety education being phased in over the next several years. See the new "Boaters- Are You on Board?" boating information section in this edition of the Outdoor Report, located in the sidebar section.
NATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BYRD NEST
In our hectic, fast paced, electronic society, it seems many of us have lost touch with nature. The 2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar features weekly nature notes on exciting, wonder-filled activities by wild creatures and dramatic seasonal changes in wild places reflected in plants and animals alike. Marika Byrd,
freelance writer, Virginia Outdoor Writers Association member and Complementary Workforce Volunteer, has developed a column for the
Outdoor Report sidebar entitled, Nature Observations From The Byrd Nest. Each edition will feature nature observations from the calendar and actions you can take to enhance your outdoor experience. We especially hope that
"budding young naturalists" will read these articles and get outdoors to observe the wonders of nature and learn lessons that cannot be experienced on the web, or video games.
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
Wooly Mammoth Breakfast Benefits Saltville Museum January 31
The Friends of the Museum of the Middle Appalachians invite you to the 16th annual Woolly Mammoth Breakfast on Saturday, January 31 at the Northwood High School in Saltville. The Madam Russell Methodist Men's Club will serve breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Indulge in Ice Age Eagle eggs, Bison bacon, Mastodon sausage, Ground-Sloth gravy, Saber-cat head biscuits, Paleo pancakes with syrup, Fried Arboreal apples, Ground Hog grits, Cave-bear coffee and Musk-Ox milk as you listen to music by Kris Payne. After breakfast… WOOLLY, the Mascot of the Museum, will emerge to predict the weather for the next six weeks! Saltville Mayor Jeff Campbell will proclaim Woolly's meteorological forecast. A breakfast ticket gives you free admission to the Museum for the day. Click here for more information. The Town of Saltville and the Museum of the Middle Appalachians are partners with VDGIF on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Clinch Mountain Loop!
February Sportsmen's Shows Offer Something for Everyone
The five regional outdoor sportsman's shows scheduled for February feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. All the shows feature activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen's organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on
hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Each show offers something different, so check each show's
website for all the details.
- February 20 - 22, The Greater Virginia Sports & Big Game Show, Rockingham County
- February 20 - 22, Richmond Boat Show, Richmond Raceway Complex
- February 20 - 22, The Fredericksburg Outdoor Show, Fredericksburg Expo Center
- February 27 - March 1, Western Virginia Sports Show, Augusta Expoland Fishersville
- February 27 - March 15, Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic, Ashland
VDGIF To Host First National Archery In The Schools Program Tournament
VDGIF is conducting the First Annual National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament on February 28, 2009, at the Augusta Expoland in Fishersville. The tournament is being held in cooperation with the Western Virginia Sport Show which will be held at the same location from February 27-March 1. This is the first year students teams will compete in the same location.
This tournament is the "culminating event" for Virginia schools participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Last year, more than 90,000 Virginia students at more than 160 schools participated. Right now, NASP-certified schools across Virginia are selecting their student archers to make up their teams. The program is coordinated by the VDGIF Outdoor Education staff. According to Outdoor Education Supervisor Karen Holson, "Currently, we have 150 students registered and can accommodate more. Schools will be able to register until January 30."
The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes student education and participation in archery. The program's focus is designed to teach International Archery style target archery in 4th through 12th grades as part of the in-school curriculum. NASP's core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, and self-improvement. The students shoot at bulls-eye targets placed in front of an arrow resistant net in their gymnasium or outside. Before presenting archery instruction to their students at school, teachers must undergo an 8-hour instructor certification training program referred to as BAI, Basic Archery Instructor. Certification is conducted by VDGIF Outdoor Education staff and VDGIF-certified volunteers.
For more information and to get your school and teachers involved in NASP, contact VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia State NASP Coordinator Karen Holson at
(804) 367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov. For more information about NASP visit the Department's website.
Bass Fishing Seminar February 20 in Henrico
It's that time again - time to go fishin'. VDGIF Angling Education will kick off the season with a Bass Fishing Seminar at Deep Run Recreation Center in Henrico County on Friday, February 20 from 6 -9 p.m. Learn about bass fishing from the local pros. National and local bass tournament experts Frank Poirier, Mike Hicks and Steve Miller will share their knowledge to help make you a better bass angler. Seminar topics include Locating Bass, Seasonal Patterns, Power vs. Finesse and Fishing the Plastic Worm. For more information, contact Chris Dunnavant at (804) 367-6778 or Chris.Dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov.
Wildlife Center Offers Class on Handling Wildlife February 25
The Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) is offering a class on Wildlife Capture, Restraint, Handling, & Transport at Tonsler Park in Charlottesville on Wednesday, February 25. Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for
WCV advises that pre-registration is required. WCV was formed in 1982 to provide quality health care, often on an emergency basis, to native wildlife. The hospital has treated more than 50,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The staff includes a trained corps of wildlife medicine practitioners, including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and volunteer wildlife rehabilitators. Those who have benefited from the professional training programs offered by the Center may now be found on the cutting-edge of wildlife veterinary medicine around the world.
Orvis Richmond Store to Offer Fly Tying Classes Beginning in February
Fly tying classes will be held at the Orvis
Richmond store beginning in February. There will be
a beginning class on Tuesday nights starting
February 3 and an intermediate/advanced class on
Wednesday nights starting February 4. The time for
both classes is 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Classes are FREE and
Fly Fishers of Virginia (FFV) members are welcome to
participate in either or both of the classes. For
more information contact Dale Huggins at the
Richmond Orvis Store (804) 253-9000. If you need
tools the FFV has loaner sets that you can use for
the class. Just let Dale know so he can have them
Chesapeake Offers Fly Fishing Workshops
Learn the basics of fly fishing at monthly workshops sponsored by Chesapeake Parks & Recreation Department, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Bill Wills Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers (Bill Wills TU/FFF). The workshops are held at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake the first Saturday of the month with the next workshop scheduled for January 3, 2009 and continuing through March 7. Sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. in the activities building no registration or experience is required. The classes offer casting instructions, fly tying, equipment basics, rod, reel, line, terminal tackle and accessories. Classes are free and open to the public. Bring your own equipment if you like but it's not required. Learn to pick your equipment for a better fly-fishing experience. For more information or directions contact the Park at (757) 421-7151, or Bill Campbell at (757) 635-6522, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Outdoor Writers Association Annual Youth Writing Contest Deadline
Extended to February 9
The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) reminds young aspiring authors that its 16th Annual Youth Writing Competition deadline
has been extended to February 9, 2009. The goal of the contest is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.
The theme of this year's contest is based on "My Most Memorable Outdoor Experience". An experience by the student writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be posted on the VOWA
website, and may be in other publications or on web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged—write the document and then attach it to an e-mail. The submissions must be made by the
extended deadline of February 9, 2009.
Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in Hampton, on March 21, 2009, with the time and place to be announced. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event. There is also a separate contest for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.
For Contest guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for the Youth contests, visit the VOWA
website or contact VOWA President and Contest Chairman, David Coffman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone
Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Wilderness Survival, Bow Building and Decoy Carving Workshops
Ever wondered what you'd do if you were lost in the wilderness or stranded after an accident? Would you know how to survive? Join us for a fun weekend and learn how to SURVIVE and THRIVE in the wilderness! Come spend a weekend learning Wilderness Survival Skills from experts in the fields of wilderness survival, search/rescue, primitive skills and tracking! Courses during the March 13-15 workshop include the Basics of Survival, primitive shelter building, water, wild edibles, wilderness travel, fire craft and MORE! See flyer for more details and registration form (PDF). This course will be conducted at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox. Registration fee of $165 covers programming, survival kit components, meals and lodging.
Are you interested in making your own primitive bow or learning the art of traditional duck decoy carving? Nate Mahanes, Program Director for the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center advises that a gift of a registration for one of the workshops is perfect for that special person who enjoys the outdoors. Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. For details visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website, or contact by email: email@example.com, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749
Click to view upcoming events at the 4-H Center:
People and Partners in the News
Jim Crosby Wins Travel Photo Contest
Jim Crosby was recently surprised when he received notice that he was one of 10 winners in the International Auto Parts Travel Photo
Contest. Jim is a retired VDGIF Boating Safety Coordinator and serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. His winning photo showed his 1980 Fiat Spider coming out of the historic Mimm's Bottom covered bridge near Mt. Jackson. Jim proudly noted, "My, you never know where your joy is going to come from." Click here to view the Travel Photo Contest Winners. Congratulations Jim.
2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Gives All Year Long
It's past time to purchase the 2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar! For more than 20 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been publishing one of the most visually stunning and informative wildlife calendars in the country.
The 2009 edition highlights many of the most sought after game and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich colors and composition of the 12 monthly photo spreads. Each page is full of useful tidbits for the outdoors lover - including wildlife behavior, preferred fishing and hunting times, hunting seasons, state fish records, and much more! Life history information is provided for each species featured.
Virginia Wildlife Calendars are still being offered at the bargain price of only $10 each. Quantities are limited, so order yours now! Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.
Hunting News You Can Use!
The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in getting ready for hunting season, or reports of interest compiled from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk.
Clean Your Muzzleloader - Now!
With the growing popularity of hunting with a muzzleloader and the advances with the new in-line models, there are a lot of you out there new to shooting black powder. I am one of them. Fortunately with the mentoring of a good hunting buddy, who has been shooting black powder for many years, I had a great "second season" shooting my new smokepole. Norman McLaughlin from Augusta County, has been a volunteer with VDGIF and active in several sportsmen's organizations. I have learned a lot from Norman's experience while turkey hunting, target shooting and from his companionship during our many hunting trips. To get started right with the new season, first we spent several sessions in September- October shooting the gun to "season" it, get me more confident with the differences from the more familiar rim-fire rifle shooting and sighting it in. Also practice, practice, and more practice target shooting in field conditions and learning the re-loading sequence all paid off when the early November opening came. I harvested three nice deer this season with the reliable new muzzleloader, proud and appreciative that my preparation and guidance by an experienced friend made the numerous hunting trips most enjoyable. Once a shooting session or the hunting season was over, Norman was most insistent about one thing - clean your muzzleloader thoroughly!
Regardless of what type of propellant you use, without proper cleaning, corrosion and rust will quickly pit the barrel, jam the firing mechanism, or foul the nipple shut. Even black powder substitutes like Pyrodex and Triple 7 can foul up your gun. After cleaning thoroughly following the owner's manual directions, and tips from an experienced shooter like Norman, store your gun muzzle-down, particularly if you've used petroleum-based gun oil. This prevents the lubricant from gravitating down to those parts that could jam up. Clean and store your muzzleloader properly and it will remain reliable for you next season and for many seasons to come. Put off cleaning or cut corners and you may end up with a firearm that doesn't fire at all.
David Coffman, Editor
Deer Hunting Opportunities Still Available
Late Antlerless-Only Firearms Deer Season January 5 - March 28, 2009
Hunters are reminded of the special late antlerless-only firearms deer season January 5
- March 28, 2009, in the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William, except on Department-owned lands.
- To firearms deer hunt on private lands in Fairfax County a special landowner permit is required. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No special police permit is required for archery deer hunting.
Urban Archery Season Runs Through March 28, 2009
Don't hang up your bow just yet—opportunities still exist for archery deer hunting across Virginia. To assist towns and cities with urban deer management issues, the Department established an urban archery season in 2002. This year, the season extends until March 28, 2009, in 21 localities. Due to these areas being more developed, there may be additional restrictions for safety measures that hunters must follow.
According to Deer Project Coordinator Nelson Lafon, "The Urban Archery season plays an important role in managing human-deer conflicts. It allows participating towns, cities and counties to address the problems of too many deer while offering sportsmen a
chance to hunt in these areas."
To find which of the 21 participating localities is near you, visit the Department's website.
Disabled 'Cavalry Trooper' Determined to Deer Hunt
They say it's hard to keep an old cavalry horse down. That saying applies to Hunter Education Instructor Russ Holland. Russ, a service-disabled Vietnam 11th Cavalry veteran (Army retired Major, Silver Star recipient) is like an old cavalry horse. Recently he had major reconstructive surgery on his left leg just before muzzle loader deer season opened in Virginia. Not one to sit at home and prop his leg up and listen to his doctors, Russ was determined to go deer hunting. Along with the help of some friends, he set up a ground blind, placed his wheelchair in the blind and waited patiently for "Mr. Big" to come along. His determination paid off on November 6 when a 12 pointer in Sussex County entered his rifle sights. The rest is history. Ya gotta
love those cavalry troopers.
Reports From Young Hunters
Brandon Jennings, age 13, harvested his first
deer on the last day of the regular firearms deer
season, January 3, doing man drives in Westmoreland.
He shot this 8 pointer with 18 inch spread at about
30 yards with his Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun.
Brandon's Dad, Aaron, proudly commented, "I think
he's hooked on hunting now, just like his me!"
Congrats Brandon, that's a nice "first buck."
How did you do? Send stories and photos to
firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your story that includes a youth or first time hunter, you'll receive a complementary Virginia Wildlife hat!
Apprentice Hunting License is a Great Way to Begin the New Year!
With seasons still open for waterfowl, rabbits, squirrel, and other small
game, it's a great time to introduce a youngster to the sport by getting an
Apprentice Hunting License. Also, spring gobbler season is only
away with the special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Day scheduled for April 4,
2009. An apprentice license can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing the Department's hunter education course. However, apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license. Be sure to check out the new Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted to its
website. The video is an overview of how the new Apprentice Hunter program works. Watch the video and consider becoming a mentor to a friend or family member who's always wanted to try hunting.
What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.
Season Updates and New Regulations For Hunting Migratory Birds
VDGIF Waterfowl Biologist Gary Costanzo, reminds
waterfowl hunters that although duck season closed
this past Saturday, January 24, there are several
waterfowl hunting seasons that are still open.
- Sea Duck and the Tundra Swan hunting seasons
extends through January 31
- Atlantic Brant season extends through
- Canada goose season West of Interstate 95
extends through February 14
- Snow goose season extends through March 10
If you have any questions the
season dates are listed on the Department's
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Warm Days and Cold Water Can Be Dangerous Combo
Whether you're on the water this winter hunting waterfowl or striper fishing, or just taking advantage of a warm winter day, it just makes sense to take some precautions to ensure a safe boating experience. A sudden tumble into cold water can dangerously lower your body temperature leading to hypothermia. Here are some tips to keep you safe:
- Let someone know your destination and expected return time
- Check water and weather conditions and heed them
- Take more clothing that you think you'll need to add layers or change if you get wet
- Make sure your boat's motor is in good running condition and you have the proper safety equipment and it's in good working order
- Regardless of weather conditions, always wear your life jacket
Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of this condition include change in mental status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a low core body temperature. Severe hypothermia may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and unconsciousness.
Treat hypothermia by protecting the victim from further heat loss and calling for immediate medical attention. Get the victim out of the cold. Add insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim. Be sure to cover the victim's head. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Handle the victim gently because rough handling can cause cardiac arrest. Keep the victim in a horizontal (flat) position. Give artificial respiration or CPR (if you are trained) as necessary.
Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.
No Campfires Before 4 PM Starting February 15
All outdoorsmen are reminded that the "4 PM Burn Law" is in effect from February 15 until April 30 to help prevent forest fires. The law bans all open air burning, including campfires, before 4 PM if your fire is within 300 feet of the woods, brush, or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. You are allowed to burn debris or have campfires between 4 PM and midnight, as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times. Read the Virginia Department of Forestry's Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Burn? to learn more.
"Green Tips" For Outdoor Enthusiasts
This section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoor enthusiasts can join with others to do simple things in your outdoor pursuits that can make a big difference in keeping Virginia "green" and wildlife "wild" to benefit us all.
Conference to Explore Marketing Environmental Solutions March 12-13
Balancing economic and environmental sustainability is the challenge for the 21st Century being explored during a two-day conference at the Charlottesville Omni Hotel March 12-13, 2009. Ecosystem Services : Explore Marketing Environmental Solutions will explore the design and implementation of ecosystem service markets and the development of tools to enhance landowner participation in these markets. Attending this conference will ensure a better understanding of how ecosystem service markets function and what opportunities exist for landowners. Click here for more information.
- Neil Clark, Assoc. Extension Agent at Virginia Tech, telephone:757-657-6450, ext. 406
- Buck Kline, Director of Forestland Conservation, Virginia Department of Forestry, telephone: 434-220-9035 Email: Buck.Kline@dof.virginia.gov
Websites Provide Winter Bird Feeding Tips
Brisk temperatures and heavy snow can pose challenges to local birds that winter in your area. An effective Habitat at Home© contains many shrubs and densely vegetated areas that can provide good cover for birds. You can supplement your habitat with a couple of bird feeders placed near windows for continued enjoyment. The Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology has excellent resources about feeding birds, including Project FeederWatch. Bird Watchers' Digest also provides some great tips. Teachers are encouraged to have students hang bird feeders outside classroom windows and monitor the number and species of birds that visit. A curriculum on birds is available from the National Environmental Education Foundation's Curricula Library. Check out DGIF's website, too, for information on feeding birds.
Habitat Improvement Tips
The following information on Wood Duck boxes was written by Marika Byrd,
freelance writer, Virginia Outdoor Writers Association member and Complementary Workforce Volunteer. She discovered such interesting information from talking with VDGIF
Watchable Wildlife staff, that we featured the article as a habitat tip. Check out Marika's sidebar feature, Nature Observations From The Byrd Nest.
Tips for Building and Maintaining a Wood Duck Box
Wood Ducks occur throughout the year in all regions of Virginia inhabiting
swamps, ponds and rivers. They are relatively common during the breeding
season and during fall migration. During the late fall and winter months
they are more common in the southeastern portion of the state, but can be
found anywhere good habitat exists.
The iridescent male has a dark purple back and white belly, purple chest with spots of white and buffy-yellow sides and a laid back, green head with a two-pronged, white chinstrap. The female has a long, white eye ring and is mostly grayish-brown. The male has a high whistle when courting, and the female's voice is
oo-eek. A wonderful cold weather project for you and the family would be making and placing or repairing some boxes to help the most colorful inland duck of our Commonwealth. Imagine the joy your family will have providing nesting habitat materials for our waterfowl friends. Boxes situated in a good brood habitat, near wooded ponds, means chicks do not have to search long distances for wetlands on outings with the hens.
According to Lou Verner, Ph.D., Watchable Wildlife Biologist at VDGIF, if you plan on making a box, be sure to allow for drainage, have
one openable panel for cleaning, make sure to use rough wood (cedar is good choice) or attach hardware cloth mesh 4 inches under opening to allow for easy chick egress. Boxes should be erected by late winter or early spring. However, they can be erected later in the year so they will be ready for next season. Beaver ponds, wooded sloughs and swamps with dense, woody growth and numerous fallen logs and branches provide ideal habitat.
Attach the box to a metal or treated wood pole instead of a tree. A metal predator shield around the pole helps prevent snakes and raccoons from getting to the nest and feeding upon eggs. The land placement of the box is dictated by the size of the body of water. The best rule is to ensure that no box is within sight of another. Boxes placed over water should be 4-6
feet above the high water mark; those over land should be 10 or more feet above ground level. Dr. Verner indicates that the land placement should be at least 30-150
feet from the shoreline.
Inspect boxes midwinter to insure that they are structurally sound. Wood
Ducks prefer a dark cavity for nesting, and any cracks that admit light need
to be filled or covered. Always make sure that the roof and door panel are
intact, as these are vital to keeping the nesting material dry and make any
repairs needed. Remove any old nesting material and fill the bottom of box
with 3-6 inches of fresh wood shavings (not saw dust, which can suffocate
the chicks) to provide insulation for the chicks when the hen is off the
nest. Add one teaspoon of powdered sulfur to the wood shavings to kill
deleterious mites. Make sure chicks can easily leave the box after hatching.
A great way to prevent wasps from building nests in the top of your wood
duck box is to apply a thin coating of petroleum jelly to the inside top of
the box where they like to hang their nests. This will prevent adhesion of
new nests and will discourage attempts by wasps to colonize the box.
Predator baffles should also be checked and replaced if necessary.
Now, you have another good reason to venture out and create your own memorable experience in nature with watchable wildlife.
Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings
The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has been in the seedling business for 90 years assisting landowners in reforestation projects on cutover and idle land. Landowners may now purchase seed mixes, shrubs and quality bare root tree seedlings in specialty packets for wildlife habitat enhancement, water shed protection, fall and spring colors, and timber management. For product information, pricing and ordering go to the Virginia Department of Forestry's website.
Anglers throughout Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more than 25 license agents, marinas, fishing guides and bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares this Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report.
The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.
The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested. Consult the regional location map to find the major river or lake you want to know about.
For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web
Fishing Regulations, Where to Fish, Trout Stocking Plan, and Much More; the 2009 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!
The new 2009 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published and a copy can be obtained at all license agents and Department offices. VDGIF Fisheries Division Director, Gary Martel, notes, "This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive "Let's Go Fishing" section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section and the complete Trout Guide on our website have also been updated for 2009.
Trout Stocking to Resume at Lake Thompson
Lake Thompson, a 10-acre lake on the Department's G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County, has recently refilled and trout stocking and fishing will resume this winter/spring, 2009; the lake will be stocked
four times between now and the end of May, as long as the lake remains full. All resident anglers, 16 years of age and older, are reminded that they are required to possess a trout license in addition to a valid state freshwater fishing license to fish in Lake Thompson, since this lake is being added back onto the Department's official list of Designated Stocked Trout Waters.
A leak in the bottom drain of Lake Thompson was discovered back in July and engineers determined that the bottom drain attached to the base of the principal spillway had failed somewhere along its course, near the lake bottom, upstream of the riser. Attempts to locate the source of the leak and find an economical, quick fix were not successful. Unfortunately, the lake slowly drained and was closed to fishing. However, when the water level was just about to reach a low enough point to see the bottom pipe and make an assessment of damages, the water stopped going out the pipe; engineers believe some bottom silt and/or other obstruction must have collapsed in on the bottom pipe, temporarily "plugging" the leak.
The lake has now re-filled with water and engineers are still unable to assess what is wrong with the bottom pipe; they think the lake could again start leaking and drain, but are unsure of if or when. Since the lake is now full, the Fisheries Division has decided to resume trout stocking, once again providing trout fishing opportunity at this popular lake, as long as the lake stays at an adequate water level for safe, convenient fishing.
Questions concerning the re-opening of Thompson Lake should be directed to Fred Leckie, Assistant Director of Fisheries, in Richmond at (804) 367-8944. For current trout stocking information call
(434) 525-FISH (3474) for a daily updated recording or go to our website.
Virginia Author Offers Guides to Conservation and Outdoor Adventure
Looking for a book that covers how to create/improve riparian zones, that promotes many of the VDGIF's habitat enhancement programs, and that details how to place conservation easements on private land? Or perhaps you are looking for a book that gives tips on canoe camping, birding by boat, and taking kids fishing. Or maybe you just need a book that gives you a season by season description of how to catch better quality river smallmouths with a fly rod and spinning gear.
Well, actually, there's a book that covers all those topics and more: Bruce Ingram's Fly and Spin Fishing for River Smallmouths. Ingram, who has sold nearly 2,000 articles and over 2,300 photos to magazines, is a regular contributor to such magazines as Virginia Wildlife, Bassmaster, Turkey Call, Virginia Game & Fish, Wildlife in North Carolina, and many others. Ingram's book is available from the Finney Company.
Or interested folks can order signed, dedicated books directly from Ingram at P.O. Box 429, Fincastle, VA 24090. The costs are as follows: The James River Guide ($17.25), The New River Guide ($18.25), Shenandoah/Rappahannock Rivers Guide ($18.25), and his new book, Fly and Spin Fishing for River Smallmouths ($19.25).
Orvis Richmond Store to Offer Fly Tying Classes Beginning in February
Fly tying classes will be held at the Orvis Richmond store beginning in
February. There will be a beginning class on Tuesday nights starting
February 3 and an intermediate/advanced class on Wednesday nights starting
February 4. The time for both classes is 6:30-8:00pm. Classes are FREE and
Fly Fishers of Virginia (FFV) members are welcome to participate in either
or both of the classes. For more information contact Dale Huggins at the
Richmond Orvis Store (804) 253-9000. If you need tools the FFV has loaner
sets that you can use for the class. Just let Dale know so he can have them
Sara White's Notebook
Orange County High School Angler's Club Coach
Remember that teacher who made high school a great place to learn while having lots of fun doing it? Well, for a handful of inspiring anglers on the Orange County High School fishing team, Becky Gore
is just that kind of teacher. A passionate and dedicated Earth Science teacher, Becky is also in charge of the school's
angler's club. Her mission is to "get kids out on the water and fishing"; but there is much more to the team than simply landing a big bass. In an age where the Standards of Learning (SOL) program is king and teachers must incorporate in their lesson plans, the fishing team works towards the SOL's in many aspects. Students learn to read scales and rulers and even learn to estimate a fish's weight from its measurements. Then, there is earth science where ecosystems, food chains, studying a body of water, and aquatic education are taught. There are even English language benefits. All Becky's
students must write resumes and read reports on fish, anglers and bodies of water. Being on the fishing team also has many of the same benefits of being on the baseball or track team. Young people learn to work together towards a goal, to coexist peacefully, and how to become ethical stewards of our natural resources.
A good example of the kind students that are benefiting from being on the fishing team is 13 year-old Kevin Beasley. Not even in high school yet, Kevin has already won
the BASS Federation Nation Virginia State Championship fishing tournament in the 11-14 year-old age
class. Kevin had to win in two other fishing tournaments to qualify for the
state championship tournament held last summer at Smith Mountain Lake. Kevin is perhaps the best advertisement for the team: as he points out, if there's a Friday night party to go to or a tournament on Saturday morning, which one would you choose? Kevin says he always chooses the tournament, which helps him win tournaments and sponsors. Becky mentioned that Kevin is also a very bright student for his age. Being outdoors is "fun" he tells me, and the friendly competition is exciting; even if it's only for "bragging rights" amongst his brothers and friends. Kevin wants to go to Virginia Tech and study water environments (and join their fishing team). I bet he does it, and does it well. He can be sure that he will have Becky Gore's full support.
The Orange County High School Anglers Club is sponsoring the 5th Annual
Orange County Sportsman Expo at the OCHS Hornet's Sports Center, in
Orange, Saturday and Sunday, March 7-8, 2009. There are exhibitors, guides,
fishing supply vendors, organizations, and lots to see and do. For
information, contact email@example.com,
or call (540) 661-4300 ext. 1154.
Region 1 - Tidewater
Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown managed to stop fighting with Lucy long enough to give me this report: some big blue cats (up to 30 lbs) were brought to the dock this past week. Eel or other fresh cut bait seems to be the trick. Anglers with minnows or worms have had some luck with crappie. A few bass have been brought in with jerkbait. Bluegill and perch are responding to worms. The water is clear and in the low 40s. Charlie can be reached at Rivers Rest -
Middle James River: Talking with Tom Hagen at Castaway, he told me that fishing around the Dutch Gap segment of the James near Chester has been hampered by the bitterly cold weather, but that "die-hard fishermen" aren't going home disappointed. Crappie continue to show up in good numbers in the barge pits. Cats are going for live eels, as well as whole and cut alewives. No word on bass or bluegill. To hear more from Tom try
North Landing River and Back Bay: Anglers have been scarce in this area because it been so cold, but perch, bluegill and stripers are still hanging around, according to Dewey Mullins. The water temperature is in the low 40s and clear. For more info try Dewey at
Norfolk Lakes: Drew Dixon at Dahiell's Show Room says that anglers are few due to the cold weather. Anglers heading down to the Elizabeth River around the hot ditch have been rewarded with a few nice speckled trout, but not a lot else going on. The show room can be reached at
Chesapeake Bay: Capt. Jim Brincefeld, out of Virginia Beach, reports that stripers are still biting as schools of fish continue their migration south to North Carolina. Trolling umbrella rigs and big bucktails and spoons are perfect for finding the big fish. Anglers that take the time to head way off the coast are loading up on big black sea bass, grouper and tilefish. The water is clear and around 41 degrees. For more info, go to www.captjim.com.
Region 2 - Southside
Brunswick Lake: Willard Mayes an avid fly fisherman and light tackle angler reports that on sunny days there is a good afternoon bite on Brunswick Lake. He has landed several nice crappie and bluegill using small jigs such as Mister Twisters. The water remains clear and cold.
James River at Lynchburg: No real news from Tom Reisdorf at Anglers Lane. According to Tom, everyone is "hunkered up" due to the bitter cold. He's hoping that the warmer weather over the weekend brings more people out. The water is clear and cold. The number for Angler's Lane is
Kerr Reservoir: There has not been a lot of action in this area, but a few intrepid anglers who have braved the weather to land a few blue cats, some crappie and white perch. The cats went for cut bait, while the perch and crappie fell for jigging spoons, small bucktails and live shiners. The water is stained and is anywhere from 38 to 43 degrees. The reservoir is at normal pool. For more info, contact Bobby Whitlow at
Region 3 - Southwest
Lower New River: Big Z (aka John Zienius) tells us that it's just too cold to fish up there. The water is clear and very cold. To hear more go to
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Potomac River: Warbird Outdoors, on the Leesylvania area on the Potomac, has seen a fair amount of action, given the weather. Some largemouth bass are showing up in Occoquan, and going for Silver Buddies and other jigging spoons. Crappie are hanging around docks and feeding on small shiners. Cats are also around docks and are hungry for big shiners, clam snouts and cut bait. The water is stained and 40 degrees. For more info call Warbird Outdoors at
Joe Hawkins at J.G. Sports, which is on the part of the Potomac that is near the Pamunkey River and Potomac Creek, reports that things are slow. A few largemouth bass have been brought in on slow worked jigs and Silver Buddies. Striper action has been slow. Some crappie can be fooled by minnows and John Deere green colored grubs. Cats are schooling in dry holes in the creeks. Try clam snouts, shrimp or the old dependable chicken liver. The water is cold and clear. J.G. Sports can be reached at
Lake Anna: Guide Wayne Olson says that things are "OK" at Lake Anna, but slow due to the cold (do you sense a pattern forming?) Some stripers can be had with Sea Shad or Bass Assassin lures. No word on cats or crappie. White perch are going for jigs. The water is clear and cold.
Nothing to report from the other regions, as the severe cold drives anglers away. We will certainly have more when Harry Murray recovers from his operation. Let's not forget to include Harry in our thoughts and prayers.
All anglers are reminded to acquaint
themselves with a good description of the northern
snakehead fish. If you should manage to catch one of
these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and
report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game And Inland Fisheries or the Maryland
Department Of Natural Resources.
View video about the snakehead »
Get your kids hooked on fishing!
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?
email your material to
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!
Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
||To increase awareness
of the activities of our dedicated
Conservation Police Officers, previously
called game wardens, the "Virginia
Conservation Police Notebook" provides
an overview of the variety of activities
encountered by our officers who protect
natural resources and people pursuing
outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and
waters of Virginia.
Region 3 - Southwest
Poacher Ring Convicted on Multiple Charges
Due to Cooperative Efforts by Federal and North
Carolina Wildlife Agents... On January 7,
2009 Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris
concluded cases in federal court from a
multi-jurisdictional, multiple defendant
investigation that had started in the fall of 2003
in Grayson County. The case involved a number of
individuals that were residents of Virginia and
North Carolina that would use the state line as a
barrier to prevent apprehension and prosecution. The
subjects involved were killing multiple whitetail
deer and wild turkey, both during the hunting
seasons and outside of the legal hunting season.
Violations encountered ranged from hunting over
bait, spotlighting, trespassing, closed season
hunting, exceeding bag limit, fail to check, illegal
possession, hunting from vehicle, shoot from
roadway, and other lesser offenses. Over the course
of the investigation over a dozen defendants were
identified and charged in state and federal court.
Search warrants, numerous interviews, were all a
part of this case. During the investigation over one
hundred illegally taken deer were seized and
forfeited, ten wild turkey beards, along with
multiple weapons that were used in this “serial”
killing of whitetail deer and wild turkeys. This
joint investigation is a testament to the strong
working relationship of Virginia Conservation Police
Officers, North Carolina Wildlife Officers, Park
Rangers from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Agents from
the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sentences range from fines totaling $10,000 to
Federal Court Orders prohibiting the hunting for
five years of anything nationwide along with
prohibitions from being in a vehicle with a loaded
firearm nationwide for five years. For more
information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Region 4 - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley
One Tip Leads to 26 Warrants for Three
Poachers in Augusta... Virginia Conservation
Police Officer Neil Kester received information that
an individual in the Craigsville area of Augusta
County had killed several deer illegally and had
parts of those deer in an outbuilding on the
property. Officers Kester and William Herndon went
to the suspect's residence to begin the
investigative process. The officers were allowed to
look in the building and found parts of three
antlered deer and one doe. Officers Kester and
Herndon interviewed the suspect in reference to the
parts found. A statement was taken admitting to his
illegal activity involved in the killing of these
deer. Several individuals were involved. The second
suspect was located on his farm. Located in the barn
was a button buck that had been shot with a .22
rifle the previous day. The second suspect also
admitted the killing of a second button buck with
the same rifle during bow season. It was finally
determined that six deer were killed illegally. A 7
mm rifle, 12 gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle were
seized as evidence. Officer Kester was able to
interview the third person involved at a later time.
The total of 26 warrants were obtained on the three
individuals in this case. For more information
contact Lt. Kevin Clarke at (540) 248-9360.
To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.
Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!
In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:
- Deer, Bear and Turkey Harvest Summaries
- Walleye and Bass Forecasts
- Hunting, Fishing, and Boating Shows